“Be nice” is what I tell my kids when they are “not nice.” It’s also what I say to my adult friends, family members, irritable people waiting in line at Firehouse subs, anyone who’s not “being nice.” It never occurred to me to look deeper into what “be nice” actually means.
“I know there’s a difference between being nice and being kind, and I’m going to figure out what it is.”
That’s what I said when a good friend of mine told me she wanted to work on being nicer. (NOTE: It was not in response to me telling her to “be nice.”)
After some research, I think I’ve figured it out. It’s about motive.
Being nice is externally motivated. A nice person craves acceptance and acts nice in order to belong.
Being kind is internally motivated. A kind person cares less about what people think and more about “doing the right thing.”
TRUE CHARACTER IS WHO YOU ARE IN THE DARK
A nice person avoids confrontation and saying no. He will not express anger for fear of upsetting someone, but in the same right, will have anger outbursts due to long-held resentment.
A kind person doesn’t seek confrontation, but will not avoid confrontation if it means being untrue to himself.
A nice person is not true to himself for fear that he won’t be accepted
A kind person is authentic and is not diminished by others’ disapproval.
TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE
Being a “kind” person is my ideal self. It’s why I read all those self development books. I would love to always be authentic, true to myself, care less about what others think, no need for approval, honest. Okay, I’ll be honest. The last year, I’ve done way better at the genuine part.
In the article I read, it said that most people look up to those who aren’t afraid to be genuine. But, sometimes, the real, fallible you isn’t socially acceptable. Sometimes, doing what’s right isn’t popular. These are the times, when I really look up to those kind people, the ones who are strong, confident and do what’s right, regardless of what other people think.
If you want to stop being “nice” and start being “kind,” stop looking to others for love and approval and look inward instead.
I think I’m going to stop telling everyone to be nice. It’s the kind people who really have their shit together.